Polling Place: Will embattled Pat Fitzgerald be a head coach again?

Also: We asked how excited you are for the upcoming Bears season and if Team USA will win the Women’s World Cup.

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Northwestern Wildcats v Nebraska Cornhuskers - Aer Lingus College Football Classic

Pat Fitzgerald with his Northwestern team after a 2022 win against Nebraska in Dublin.

Oisin Keniry/Getty Images

There used to be a time when an available Pat Fitzgerald would have been a hot commodity in major college football. No doubt, losing seasons at Northwestern had taken some of the shine off Fitzgerald even before the eruption of the hazing scandal that cost him his job. But now?

Is Coach Fitz, Head Whistle In Charge, a thing of the past?

In this week’s “Polling Place,” your home for Sun-Times sports polls on Twitter, that was our first question: Will Fitzgerald be a head coach again?

“Yes, if he wants to,” @BobSanks commented.

It might take some time, though.

“He’ll be the Bears’ linebackers coach in three seasons,” @JeffreyCanalia predicted. “By then, everyone will have moved on to another scandal.”

We also wanted to know how excited folks were about the upcoming season of the Bears, who open training camp next week.

“Extremely excited for football,” @mobhg54 wrote, “but pretty excited about the Bears.”

Last, we asked about the Women’s World Cup, which just got underway: Will the United States win it?

On to the polls:

Poll No. 1: Will Pat Fitzgerald, recently fired by Northwestern, be a head coach again?

Upshot: Fitzgerald has multiple legal battles to fight before one can imagine him even thinking about getting on with his career, but he’s only 48 and has time on his side. Will he have opportunities to be an assistant if he opts to pursue that route? Yes, eventually; it could be in the NFL. To be a college head coach again, though, he’ll undoubtedly have to start smaller than the Big Ten, and there’s no telling when that might be.

Poll No. 2: The Bears open training camp next week. How excited are you about their upcoming season?

Upshot: As Bears polls go, this is a whole lot of excitement. It’s nice to go into a season knowing the Bears should be an improved team, even if part of the reason is they essentially couldn’t be worse if they tried. But there’s also a lot of love — and a long leash — from fans for quarterback Justin Fields, who’s on the ascent. We hope.

Poll No. 3: The United States has the best odds (+225) of any country to win the Women’s World Cup. Will the Americans be champions?

Upshot: The U.S is going for its fifth World Cup title and its third in a row, and did you see the way we used ”is” and “its” there instead of the customary “are” and “their” according to Soccer-ese? ’Twas our patriotic duty. You’re welcome, America.

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